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Quick Tips for Stylized Lighting

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Stylized lighting in game development allows for artistic expression and creating visually interesting environments. By using Unreal Engine's powerful tools and techniques, developers can achieve stunning results that go beyond realism and into a new realm of Stylized. In this blog post, we will explore some useful techniques for achieving stylized lighting in Unreal Engine and how it can enhance the overall aesthetics and player experience.

Understanding Stylized Lighting: Stylized lighting involves creating visually distinct lighting styles that deviate from realistic representations. It relies on exaggerated color schemes, unique compositions, and intentional use of light sources to evoke mood and guide players through game worlds. By embracing stylized lighting, developers can create immersive environments that leave a lasting impact.

Importance of Stylized Lighting in Game Environment Creation:

Stylized lighting serves several important purposes in the design of a game. Firstly, it helps in highlighting important areas within the game environment, guiding players through pathways and crucial points of interest. Additionally, stylized lighting plays a crucial role in setting the overall mood and tone of the game, contributing to its artistic direction and aesthetics.

Overcoming Challenges in Stylized Lighting: One of the common challenges in achieving stylized lighting is finding the right balance. It's important to be bold and exaggerated with your lighting choices, and then fine-tune them to strike the perfect balance between stylization and playability. Another challenge is ensuring that the post-processing volume and light actors work harmoniously, enhancing each other's effects without overwhelming the players.

Inspiration from Popular Games: Several popular games have effectively utilized stylized lighting to create visually striking worlds. Games like Spyro Reignited edition, Crash Bandicoot, and Dishonored showcase different aspects of stylized lighting. From faked lighting techniques to player path lighting and mood lighting, these games provide valuable inspiration for implementing stylized lighting in Unreal Engine.

Techniques for Achieving Stylized Lighting: a. Multiple Light Sources: Instead of relying on a single light source, consider using one main light along with additional smaller lights to enhance the overall lighting composition. This approach adds depth and visual interest to the scene. b. Faked Lighting: Don't hesitate to employ faked lighting techniques. By strategically placing additional lights with "Cast shadow" turned off, you can create compelling visual effects, lead the player's eye, and highlight key areas within the environment. c. Embrace Exaggeration: Stylized lighting thrives on exaggeration. Dare to experiment with vibrant color palettes, dramatic contrasts, and unconventional lighting setups to achieve a unique visual style. d. Utilize Third-Party Tools: Consider incorporating third-party tools like Ultra Dynamic Sky from the Unreal Marketplace. This tool enhances the capabilities of the directional light in Unreal Engine, providing additional features and control for achieving stylized lighting effects.

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